Truman Show

 

I first saw The Truman Show with friends from the Zen center, and was immediately struck by the – almost too obvious – parallels with the story of the Buddha, and of each of us as we begin to see through what we take as real and true. I later read that it was, indeed, the intention of the creators of the movie.

Here are some things that come to mind:

Truman is the only “true” one in the TV show. He is also each of us, the “true” man in the sense of universal man.

He takes his world as real and solid, and “accepts the world presented to him”.

He begins to see that his world is not as it appears. Little hints here and there makes him suspicious that his world is not as it first appeared to him.

He seeks the truth.

This brings up fears. It’s a threat to his identity. It’s a threat to who he takes himself to be and what he takes the world to be.

His world creates apparent obstacles to finding the truth. This is a reflection of how our mind sometimes brings up fears and reasons for not pursuing the truth, since it means giving up our familiar identities, identifications, and how we see ourselves and the world. It can feel threatening.

He persists, since he wants truth more than comfort and safety.

And he finds reality, or at least what’s more real. Reality reveals itself to him.

Although this is not part of the movie, it’s possible that after having explored the “real world” for a while, he’ll be disillusioned about it. He may have his hopes and dreams dashed. He may regret having sought it out. And if he continues to persist in finding what’s more true for him, he may find a deeper peace with himself and his world.

This parallels the typical phases – or sometimes facets – of an awakening process. (a) Taking our world as it appears to us, without much questioning. (b) Initial curiosity, interest. Initial quest to find what’s more true. (c) Facing some unloved/unquestioned fears and identifications. (e) Early release from identifications. Honeymoon phase. (f) Facing deeper unloved/unquestioned fears and identifications. (g) A deeper peace with what is. (h) Repeat variations of f-g. (?)

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initial notes……. 

– Truman – the true man, (the one true man in the tv show) + each of us
– a created world, taken as real and solid, we accept the world that’s given to us
– begin to see that it’s not as it appears, cracks in the facade,
– seeks the truth + fears (threat to identity, what he takes to be who he is + the world)
– persists, finds the truth, wants truth more than comfort, safety

……..

I first saw The Truman Show with friends from the Zen center, and was immediately struck by the – almost too obvious – parallels with the story of the Buddha, and of each of us as we begin to see through what we take as real and true. (They disagreed, but I still see it that way.)

…..

This parallels the typical phases – or sometimes facets – of an awakening process. (a) Taking our world as it appears to us, without questioning it much. (b) Initial curiosity, interest. Initial quest to find what’s more true. (c) Initial openings and epiphanies. (d) Facing unloved/unquestioned fears and identifications. (e) Early release from identifications. Honeymoon phase. (f) Facing deeper unloved/unquestioned fears and identifications.

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